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Best Subs

  • b

I have read the messages ,and no one has metioned the best Sub sandwitches bar non is Bari's Food on Grand ave about 1100west. It is an old time Italian Food market and you need to go way in the back and ask for the subs . I prefer the Italian sub, HOT peppers a full 12" for 5 bucks . If you really want to chow get a container of homade italian beef , take that home heat it up and put the hot beef on the cold italian sub ......YEOW, I own a bar in the city and this is the treat I get for my staff for late night chowing after we close. ask for Ralph he makes the best sandwitches

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  1. For another treat go one door west and buy a loaf of bread

    1. I certainly agree Bari Foods makes a good sub (and included them in my list of favorite sandwiches; link below). In fact I like Bari so much I mentioned them again here less than 6 weeks ago. Did you ever try the nearby Mario & Pat’s before it closed several years ago? The store is still vacant and the sign still hangs. Good as Bari is, I preferred Mario & Pat’s.

      Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

      1. j

        From a former Chicagoan now living in New York:
        I remember the best subs were at Fontano's on Polk street right down the block from where I used to go to elementary school. All the kids at Jackson knew that Fontano's was the best!

        6 Replies
        1. re: JessicaKlonsky

          There's a Fontano's on Jackson between State and Wabash. Do you think it's connected to the one that used to be on Polk? It's a nice, family-run place, jammed at lunchtime, and I love their 6" meatball sub with provolone and sweet peppers (generally I prefer hot peppers, but for some reason they overwhelm this sub, in my opinion.) SusanB

          1. re: susanb

            The Fontano's on Jackson is run by the same family that STILL runs the Fontano's on Polk.

            1. re: FrankT

              Isn't there a sub place on Lake (approximately on the side of the Chicago theater) that had the Fontano's name for a while and then changed to something else? (Food stayed identical, as far as I could tell.) I used to get subs there while working downtown and they were always pretty good and authentic-seeming. I think that might be responsible for some confusion as to whether all Fontano's are related.

              1. re: MIke G

                I've been eating Fontano's subs (original Polk Street location) for over 25 years now- NEVER had a bad one or anything less than excellent. This place is a classic family run, old Italian neighborhood place. Some of the other locations are run by their kids, I've never tried them so can't vouch for authenticity or quality. A ham/salami/provolone with mayonaise and hot peppers is good for the soul- gots to have one now!
                BTW, the frozen pasta and sauces in the freezer are pretty good, also.

                1. re: Sandy C.

                  Yeah, hands down Fontano's has the best subs in Chicago & the suburbs. I've been going there since 1981. The "chain" places have plastic tasting Italian lunchmeat, overly portion controlled. Fontano's has REAL Italian lunchmeat piled high with whatever traditional extras you would like. These are not funky hybrid sndwiches, they're real Italian subs. And if you haven't had one, you have to try the Meatball sandwich ( add some provolone, you won't be sorry ). Another thing you don't get at other shops is the ambiance....When I go there, I feel like I'm in someone's kitchen.......

          2. re: JessicaKlonsky

            I second that mention of Fontano's (the original one on Polk). That place got me through my undergrad degree many, many years ago. Somewhere in the U of I's files, if not already trashed awhile back, is a whole big pile of composition/counterpoint exercises with giardiniera pepper stains on 'em! *Sentimental sigh*

          3. Dig deep. Bari's been mentioned several times.

            I love Bari, but I wouldn't know if its the best. We've had lotsa people making the same claim about lotsa places.

            Have a look at the thread I've linked, below.

            Erik M.

            Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            1. I'm in Andersonville and would love to find a place nearby that makes an acceptable traditional Italian sub. Rocco's, on Lincoln just north of Lawrence, used to provide such a beast, but my visit there this past weekend revealed that they were closed for business. There's a Costello in Lincoln Square and Cap'n Nemo's on Ashland just north of Belmont (across from Ambassador Cafe); both are pretty good in their own fashion but neither will make you a good old fashioned Italian sub with mortadella, provolone, oil and vinegar, etc.

              I'm not necessarily looking for greatness, I would welcome even an OK option or two.

              It's been a tough year for sandwiches in general on the far north side, as the aforementioned Rocco's, the decent Big Lill's and of course the fabulous Mimi's have all closed their doors in recent months.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Harry V.

                Actually, if you order one at Costello's and then alter the ingredients slightly, don't you wind up with a pretty good traditional Italian sub?

                Mike, who was going to mention Rocco's closing sooner or later

              2. My favorite sub place, suprisingly enough, is the chain Quiznos. I absolutely love their toasted subs. Next I like Jimmy John's in downtown Evanston. They have all fresh ingredients and their bread is baked fresh daily. Those are my two reccomendations.

                Link: http://www.freestuffster.com

                1. Being an Italian Sub freak myself, I recently tried TOny's Italian Deli in Edison Park (Northwest Hwy), 'cause I read they had good stuff. The subs are pretty decent but I liked their turkey sub (blasephmy!) better than the Italian they make, cause the italian seemed bland, it needed more oil, vinegar, and seasonings to make it stand out. Maybe the meats were lacking but they seemed high quality. Also Manginos makes a decent sub but I am not sure if they are still in bizness.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: MikeK

                    Tony's Italian Deli in Edison Pk makes a terrific Muffaletta sandwich.

                    1. re: Artie

                      Hmmmm, Artie, sounds intriguing. How do they assemble a muffaletta? Is it their basic Italian sub with some spicy olive mix spread onto it? I will have to investigate further.

                      1. re: MikeK

                        It's made on a round loaf of bread with the usual sub ingredients and topped with olive salad then cut into quarters. The olive salad is what really makes it stand out. It's the closest thing to the ones they sell at the Central Grocery in New Orleans that I've ever come across.

                  2. Hi,

                    I haven't tried them, but people rave about Potbelly. Do they have an Italian sub?


                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Leek

                      I've aggravated many an enthusiastic friend by responding this way, but people who rave about Potbelly's are crazy. Granted, the bread is a little better than your average subway (tm) sponge, but aside from that there is not much that distinguishes their sandwiches. Give me Bale, or Va Ce (in DC), or the grilled panino from the little place under the hancock tower over Potbelly anyday. And (here I go again, the punchline incarnate of my own joke) the portions are so small. (rimshot!)

                      1. re: Seth Zurer

                        Mild disagreement. Potbelly is not sublime and I do not care for their cutesy atmosphere, but their sandwiches are miles better than Subway's. A sandwich from Potbelly can provide a mild bit of pleasure, which is a lot more than I can say for the other.

                        And Bale doesn't really fit the bill for an Italian sub. (I wish it did!) And Washington DC is a tiny bit out of the way.

                        1. re: Harry V.

                          Right you are re: Bale and re: DC. I had slipped, in my mind, over to sandwiches in general and away from the topic at hand.

                          1. re: Harry V.

                            i like potbelly alot for its sturdy, homemade bread and its veggie sub. its got sauteed mushrooms, cheese, and spicy giardiniera (if you ask). the fact that it's not huge is the point, for me. most subs are too big, too much fat, and too many calories. its too easy to overeat. potbelly's subs are smallish, but reasonably priced for what you get. i dont consider it a ripoff, pricewise. and they are made to order. fresh, always.

                            1. re: joan

                              I too like Potbellys. It is certainly not the place for the "best" or "ultimate" sub by any means but they make a decent sandwich at really reasonable price ($3.95 for 6-inch roast beef). Just fine for a workday lunch. If you want a great sub - go to Bari

                              1. re: joan
                                Jason Mitchell

                                Gotta side with Joan here on the Potbelly issue. Yes I'm biased b/c I've been eating subs at their original Lincoln Avenue joint since I could walk, but I think the sandwiches are fabulous. Haven't tried Bari (though I can't wait to based on the comments here), so I won't make claims as to "bestness," but I will defend them as being anything similar to Subway--what blasphemy. And yes, the veggie sub is a score, but try the hot roast beef (with everything, including hot peppers), which is a knockout.

                                I find the decor at the original shop charming, rather than "cutesy," although it admittedly descends into kitsch artifice when transferred to the new locations. Speaking of new locations, I must say I've found the quality downtown and at O'Hare less consistent than at the original.

                            2. re: Seth Zurer

                              Hey, Seth.

                              For a measly 50 cents they'll double the meat on yr sandwich. ;-)

                              Erik M.

                          2. Anyone like Wall ST. Deli Sandwiches?

                            1. I tried the Fontano's on Jackson and was slightly let down, as I had pretty high expectations coming in.

                              One place that blew me away was L'Appetito on Huron, go there with a big appetite and you will not be disappointed. Make sure you get a side as well.

                              I enjoy Potbelly's quite often, and would like to echo some comments already made - not great, but pretty good and consistent, and offers excellent value. Try the Wreck on wheat!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: pezzonovante

                                I'm not at all surprised! This thread is well over 5 yrs old, and the since the restaurant business seems to age in dog years, allot of things can change with the places mentioned; and not usually for the better. Besides, IMHO any thread promoting crap like Quizno's & Potbelly type chains isn't going to be all that credible to begin with.

                                Ok, with that being said, here are my top choices for the best Subs on the North Side & Northern burbs:

                                1) Heros Submarine Sandwich Shop - Chicago
                                2) Tony’s Subs – Deerfield & Lakemoor locations (both are excellent)
                                3) Leno’s – Waukegan
                                4) L’Appetito – Chicago (by the John Hancock center) http://www.lappetito.com/site.swf

                                I believe that the hallmark of a great sub is that they are L-O-A-D-E-D with fresh meat, are light on veggies (but the ones that are on it are fresh) and on a solid quality piece of Italian bread, like a fresh cut Gonella or Turano’s, the oil is their own and they should never cost over $10

                                Leno's Submarine Shop
                                1828 Grand Ave, Waukegan, IL 60085

                                Heros Submarine Sandwich Shop
                                3600 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

                                875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

                                Tony's Submarine
                                1480 Waukegan Rd, Deerfield, IL 60015

                              2. I like Bari Foods on Grand and L Appetito on Wabash at Huron. Quizno's & Potbelly's don't compare. The orginal Fontano's off of Taylor is pretty good. I believe they still own and operate one in downtown Hinsdale.

                                The best subs are in Elmwood Park at Alpine Subs on North avenue a couple of blocks west of Harlem and Riviera on Harlem near Belmont. These are topnotch old school Italian delis, not the horrible chain imitators. I'm sure Caputo's on Harlem will do a fine job too.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: amoncada

                                  Lol -
                                  We have sim tastes. I'm all about Alpine. Extra oil. ALWAYS!

                                  1. re: gordeaux

                                    I made a killer marinara with some Italian sausage with fennel & garlic from Alpine....YUM!! It's always a treat to see the reaction from guests when you serve them top notch Italian sausage from Alpine, Riviera, or Bari foods. It's night and day to your average grocer variety.

                                2. "...orginal Fontano's off of Taylor is pretty good. I believe they still own and operate one in downtown Hinsdale."

                                  That's interesting- I never been to Fontano's downtown, and I have never noticed the ownership of the Hinsdale shop, but they make a really outstanding sub.. They're on Washington Street, just north of the Burlington tracks, across from the Fuller's carwash.

                                  To take this discussion in the opposite direction,so to speak, Rubino's Italian Market and (huge) Deli makes a sub that takes at least two people to lift. It is on Harlem avenue, a little north of downtown Tinley Park. They have MANY other really nice sandwiches, and everything Italian you might think of. It's better to go in well before or after lunchtime, because they're packed to the roof around noon.

                                  1. I can't believe that there has been no mention of Captain Nemo's subs. This place has the best subs I have ever eaten. Their soup is awesome, as well. Everything is made on site. Crispy Gonella bread, too! This is the only place you can find a sub that includes liverwurst!
                                    As you place your order, they will offer a sample of soup. Don't pass it up!

                                    Capt'n Nemo's Subs & Soups
                                    7367 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60626

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Shoes58

                                      Captain Nemo's is overrated and just OK, and definitely not great.

                                      1. re: Shoes58

                                        I used to live fairly close to there for about three years. I went there twice. Hopefully they are better than I remember.